EWA, the professional organization dedicated to improving the quality and quantity of education coverage in the media, hosts regular interviews and panel discussions with journalists and education professionals.
Homeless Students in Rural America
Rural students are homeless in about the same proportion as their urban counterparts, but as Samantha Shapiro found in her story for The New York Times Magazine, they often have far less of a support system. In many cases, schools offer the only help available.
Shapiro, an EWA Reporting Fellow, wrote “Young and Homeless in Rural America.” She introduced readers to several families experiencing homelessness and school personnel trying valiantly to help. Her piece shows the heavy burdens placed on school districts and why much more help is needed.
In this EWA Radio episode, Public Editor Kavitha Cardoza chats with Shapiro about how she got interested in reporting on homelessness. Additionally, Shapiro explains how she set aside her emotions while reporting and details "hopeful endings" in bleak stories.
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to colleagues in the education community – past and present –for supporting me. I’m especially grateful to editors who talked me through half-coherent ideas and shaped them into something meaningful, who acted as sounding boards, and were my advocates.
Daarel Burnette and Andrew Ujifusa are both longtime education reporters. They’re two of the most accomplished journalists I know and two of the nicest. They also recently transitioned to being editors. Daarel is senior editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Andrew is Chalkbeat’s story editor. I’m thrilled to welcome them to EWA Radio.
In this week’s episode, we chat about how they try to be different from some of their previous editors, why school boards are “the most intimate form of democracy” and why they stay in education journalism. They also explain why they’re hopeful about the future.
Investigating Hasidic Schools in New York
Some Hasidic Jewish boys in New York were denied basic education in reading, math and social studies, a New York Times investigation found. These students also received harsh physical punishments and experienced textbook censorship in Hasidic boys’ schools.
Brian Rosenthal* and Eliza Shapiro of The New York Times spent more than a year investigating these religious schools. They read thousands of documents (Many translated from Yiddish), interviewed almost 300 people, and analyzed millions of rows of data about Hasidic schools. Their dogged reporting found that these boys are not simply falling behind.
“They are suffering from levels of educational deprivation not seen anywhere else in New York. Only nine schools in the state had less than 1% of students testing at grade level in 2019, all of them were Hasidic boys’ schools.”
Rosenthal talks about the work that went into the piece, “In Hasidic Enclaves, Failing Private Schools, Flush With Public Money.” He also shares what he thinks about when covering communities he’s not a part of, how he deals with criticism and why he's not done with this story.
* EWA members may remember Rosenthal as the 2017 recipient of the Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting for “Denied: How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education.” Rosenthal wrote the piece when he was at the Houston Chronicle.
Increasing Inequality: How 'Ivy-Plus' Colleges Are Part of the Problem
Evan Mandery, an award-winning author of eight books, talks to EWA Public Editor Kavitha Cardoza about the staggering inequality in "Ivy-plus" higher education institutions.
In his latest book, “Poison Ivy: How Elite Colleges Divide Us,” Mandery argues that colleges like Harvard, Yale and Princeton have deep, structural problems that help develop and maintain an “apartheid education system" that close off opportunities to low-income students, he explains.
Mandery says elite colleges being a force for good is a myth. He writes, “It’s as misleading as those television commercials from Shell and other energy giants that advertise their commitment to clean energy alternatives – not a lie exactly, but fundamentally misleading.”
Additionally, Mandery talks about the shocking statistics that made him realize things were far worse than he thought. He also explains why he no longer goes to his Harvard reunions and why he’s hopeful things can change.
Book Bans in Texas Schools
A school board president breaks his gavel while trying to keep order, police officers escort parents out of public meetings and librarians called "pedophile groomers” for stocking certain books.
Those were just a few of the scenarios Hannah Dellinger and Alejandro Serrano encountered while reporting on book bans in Texas schools for the Houston Chronicle. Through a combination of data and shoe-leather reporting, they discovered that the push to ban certain books was the result of partisan politics, rather than a “parental rights” movement, changing what was the accepted narrative.
Dellinger and Serrano’s investigation involved sending public records requests to nearly 600 school districts that teach more than 90% of Texas’ more than 5 million students. They found there were at least 2,080 book reviews of more than 880 unique titles since the 2018-19 school year. Their reporting resulted in more than 25 stories and an interactive database.
Both reporters chat with Public Editor Kavitha Cardoza about how school board meetings are no longer “boring,” how they kept track of thousands of documents and what their one, and only, disagreement was about.
Covering Children and COVID
Tens of millions of children suffered when schools closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many lost access to food, heat and safety. A couple years on, we can see the effects clearly –
academic losses, mental health challenges as well as persistent social and emotional problems.
Anya Kamenetz, a former NPR education correspondent, talked to children and families across the country about how they coped (or didn't) during the pandemic. She details these conversations and insights from experts in her new book (her fifth!), “The Stolen Year: How COVID Changed Children's Lives and Where We Go Now.”
Kamenetz also discusses "the cruelty of remote learning," what other countries did differently and why education reporters need to own that they’re experts when it comes to children's well-being.
Outstanding discussions, invaluable!
Emily Richmond is extremely knowledgeable and her guests are among the nation's top journalists reporting about education issues. The length is just right, too -- about 13-15 minutes. Just enough to get a sense of the topics, many of which you wouldn't have heard about anywhere else. Check it out and get smarter.
Unique conversations with journalists
The EWA Radio podcast has carved out a unique niche interviewing journalists about stories on education, one of the issues that matters most to people. Host Emily Richmond is always well-prepared and gets the best from her guests. The topics they tackle range widely, everything from finding high-quality child care to coping with college costs. Definitely worth subscribing!